Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. Nehemiah 4:17-18
Most every act of obedience towards restoring, rebuilding, and renewing will be met with opposition. I just finished reading an excellent biography on William Wilberforce, an amazing disciple of Jesus disguised as a British parliamentarian, and was reminded anew of the reality of opposition no matter how noble the cause. Astonishingly, Wilberforce had to fight for abolishing slavery in England for decades.
Nehemiah realized his opposition posed a real and menacing threat to the rebuilding efforts of the walls in Jerusalem. In order to keep moving forward in rebuilding, Nehemiah had the people keep their swords close by at all times. He took his enemy seriously and prepared people to defend themselves at a moment’s notice. This level of vigilance is difficult to maintain when the work is so demanding.
Like those rebuilding the wall, we have a real enemy who wants to destroy God’s work in us and through us. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The good news is we haven’t been left defenseless. We have the armor of God, and our sword is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:10-17, Hebrews 4:12).
Armed with the truth of the Bible and surrounded by Christ-centered community, we can withstand Satan’s lies and the self-doubt that plagues our minds. With God’s Word hidden in our hearts, we can avoid giving into sin and step confidently into the future.
Like those building the wall, we must take our enemy seriously and have our swords ready. The truth of God’s Word is a sword in the hand of spiritual restorers. This Sunday, we will explore these truths more deeply as we gather. I know it is Superbowl Sunday, but every Sunday is Super at PCC! I look forward to gathering with you. Bring your swords to church!
I love being your pastor!